This June was a generally pleasant month, with stable seasonal temperatures and a reasonable hot spell toward the end. It’s been quite dry, with only 1.89″ of rain recorded on the farm, compared to a monthly average for Columbia of 4.47″. Even that total is misleading, since much of that rain came in light, isolated showers, which didn’t really soak in before the intense sun burned it off. Only twice did we receive more than 0.25″ at a time. This dryness has been good in the short term, counteracting the cold wet spring, but it feels like an approaching tipping point. If it stays this dry here, we’ll start entering drought concerns again. With some reasonable rain soon, we could be primed for a nice summer. While crop pests haven’t been a major problem, lots of human pests like ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies, and more have been a constant source of frustration. Read on for a photo essay of interesting wildlife and the monthly bird list.
The upper orchard, where we haven’t planted fruit trees yet, has grown up with a wonderful lush mix of diverse plants (& virtually no fescue). We really love the way this area is developing. A baby Western Painted Turtle found exploring one of our field roads. Two interesting mushrooms. Not sure what the one on the left is, but we think the one on the right is a Jellied False Coral. Beetles. We think the one on the left is a Six-Spotted Green Tiger Beetle, observed in a dry stream bed in the woods. Right: Pair of mating Soldier Beetles; these tend to hang out on goldenrod when it blooms later in the year, but they are on yarrow in this photo.
Left: Caterpillar of the White-Lined Sphinx. Right: Adult White-Lined Sphinx Moth.Predators: Left: An unidentified spider preying on an unidentified beetle on an identified plant: heal-all. A baby Praying Mantis; we’ve seen quite a number of these this year. So cute!This is the season for young birds. The baby Eastern Phoebes above left weren’t quite sure about leaving the nest yet when this photo was taken near the beginning of the month. The hen Wild Turkey above right was patrolling near the barn, looking for one of her chicks which turned out to have gotten itself into an old chicken pen (inset). We freed it and reunited the clan. On to the bird list:
RECORDED IN JUNE (51 species, 4 new relative to May, 28
unobserved since May). Interestingly, this is 11 more species than June 2012, which may simply reflect the more pleasant weather this year.
Great Blue Heron
Broad-Winged Hawk (Observed carrying prey in the direction of a suspected nest near the end of the month.)
Eastern Phoebe (Successful nest on the house; young fledged on June 5.)
Chimney Swift (first ever recorded on farm)
Northern Mockingbird (first ever recorded on farm)